While most Americans have been instructed to stay at home as much as possible to stop the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, that is an impossibility for “essential” workers, such as healthcare workers, police officers and other first responders.
“Essential” workers are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, which as of Saturday has already claimed the lives of at least three members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) in just the past two days, according to the New York Post.
First coronavirus-related death for NYPD
On Thursday, the NYPD confirmed that Dennis Dickson, a custodial assistant, had succumbed to the disease earlier in the week, The Hill reported.
“Mr. Dickson faithfully served this department for 14 yrs & is the 1st member to succumb to the COVID-19 virus,” the NYPD said in a public statement posted to social media. “Our thoughts go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.”
Condolences for Dickson were similarly offered up in a statement by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who said, “Today we lost one of our own.”
“When Hurricane Sandy struck, he worked 17 days straight, and since the coronavirus has struck New York City, he has been keeping the NYPD safe so our offices can keep you safe,” Shea added. “Today he passed away from complications of the coronavirus. We have lost a member of the NYPD family and our thoughts and prayers go out to his extended family.”
Two more deaths
A separate report from the New York Post noted that Dickson, 62-years-old at the time of his death, had suffered from a pre-existing heart condition, which likely contributed to the fatal complications from the COVID-19 infection. Unfortunately, he left behind a wife and children.
Just as unfortunate is the fact that he is just the first member of the NYPD to die from the new coronavirus. The Post report noted that NYPD deputy commissioner John Miller, who’s also the head of the counter-terrorism unit, was listed in serious condition at an area hospital with what is believed to be a coronavirus infection.
Following Dickson’s death, an as-yet-unnamed administrative aide in the Bronx also died from coronavirus later in the day on Thursday. Then, on Saturday, it was confirmed that the first uniformed NYPD officer had passed away — Cedric Dixon, a 48-year-old detective assigned to the 32nd Precinct in Harlem.
A 23-year veteran of the force, Dixon was well-liked and will be “sorely missed,” said Commissioner Shea. Dixon also suffered from pre-existing health issues, including asthma and diabetes, the Post reported.
NYPD hit hard by coronavirus
“We have lost three members of our family in a little over 48 hours,” Shea said in a Saturday press conference. “As I stand here I cannot begin to describe what we are feeling, what the families of these three heroes are feeling.”
The Post noted that, as of Saturday, more than 500 members of the NYPD had tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 11 percent of the force was out on sick leave — though not all have the coronavirus. New York City is currently the hardest-hit area in the U.S., with over 500 deaths as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University.